At Home with The Couchiching Conservancy

In Spring, Uncategorized by couchiching

Books, podcasts, movies and youtube channels to fill your wild heart.  Last Updated June 12, 2020.

Books & E-Books

Greenwood by Michael Christie

Are you ready for a dystopian environmental tale?

In the new world order, the Canadian prime minster emerges as the most powerful woman on earth, with the vast and, in places, still-green country functioning as “a global panic room for the world’s elite”.

This eco-parable spans a period from the great depression to 2038, the time of “The Great Withering”, when warmer temperatures unleash a virulent strain of fungus that destroys trees.

A well-told tale that is hard to put down.  – Dorthea

American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West by Nate Blakeslee

Details the intricate & loving interrelationships that govern wolves in the wild.  From the opening description of the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park you’ll be hooked.  The best book I read in 2018, the audiobook was even better.” – Recommended by Dorthea

Mythos by Stephen Fry

I have always loved Greek Myth, and this is a fun comedic recounting of the literal classics.” -Recommended by Courtney

The Best Places to Bird in Ontario by Michael Burrell and Kenneth Burrell
It’s no secret: Ontario’s rich natural landscape and diverse wildlife provides some of the most exceptional birdwatching Canada has to offer, attracting thousands of bird-lovers each year.An insider’s guide to the best birding in Ontario, featuring thirty highly recommended sites.
 Recommended by Tanya

The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

“LOTR is an epic that explores many themes, not least living in harmony with nature vs exploiting nature. An essential read.”- Recommended by Courtney

Silent Spring 

“A beloved favourite of many. One of the first books I read in my undergrad and many of the underlying messages still stick with me today.” –Recommended by Joelle

The Optimistic Environmentalist by David Boyd

Yes, the world faces substantial environmental challenges ? climate change, pollution, and extinction. But the surprisingly good news is that we have solutions to these problems. In the past 50 years, a remarkable number of environmental problems have been solved, while substantial progress is ongoing on others. The Optimistic Environmentalist chronicles these remarkable success stories. Recommended by Tanya.

Walking the big wild: from Yellowstone to Yukon on the Grizzly Bears’ Trail by Karsten Heuer

“This is a great book where the author travels with his dog on foot/skis/and canoe from Yellowstone to the Yukon. He wanted to see, on the ground, what it would be like for wildlife to traverse the wildlife corridor being created through the rockies.”– Recommended by Toby

The Once and Future Great Lakes Country by John Reilly

“An easy to read and comprehensive look at the ecological and societal development of our area. Starts from when the last glacier melted and ends with our plight with invasive species.  Uses Jesuit Relations and Champlain’s notes as base lines. A must-read for ANYONE interested in our history and/or land management.”- Recommended by Dave

On Fire by Naomi Klein

“Naomi Klein’s On Fire is a powerful read that explains the climate crisis in incredible detail as she focuses on where we went gone wrong and how we can move forward. Dorthea recommended this book to me. I’m only half way through and I’m in love! “- Recommended by Joelle

A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold

Yeah, this is old… but still has relevant land management ethics. A classic that newbies overlook.”– Recommended by Dave

The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben 

An interesting read that gives you a whole new perspective on trees. Peter Wohllenben reports scientific research on how trees feel, communicate, love, and more. 

Mountain Lion: An Unnatural History of Pumas and People

“This book goes through the history humans and mountain lions, it is factual but also interesting and easy read.” – Recommended by Toby

Eating Animals by Johnathan Safran Foer

“This book gives you an in depth look at where our meat comes from and many of the underlying truths that some of us don’t know about.”- Recommended by Joelle 

Click here to find these as e-books from the Orillia Public Library.


This is Love  by Phoebe Judge

You may be familiar with Phoebe Judge’s other podcast, the brilliant and compassionate “Criminal”.  She seems to have created “This is Love” as a counter-weight.

In the latest season she explores the love stories of animals:  Prairie Warblers, Wolves, Bison…    Find it here.     -Recommended by Dorthea

The Wild with Chris Morgan

Chris travels around the world to get up close with Beavers, Wolves, Grizzly Bears, Owls, ….and in a recent episode, scat.   -Recommended by Dorthea

Listen here

In Defense of Plants by Matt Candeias

Episode 232: The Plight of the Butternut

“Recommended to me by Phil Careless from Ontario Parks, this podcast works to cure ‘plant blindness’ and introduce some serious botany to the public. If you love plants give it a try.” – Recommended by Courtney

Click here to listen to this podcast.


Sam Evans-Brown combines solid reporting and long-form narrative storytelling to bring the outdoors to you wherever you are. You don’t have to be a whitewater kayaker, an obsessive composter, or a conservation biologist to love Outside/In. It’s a show for anyone who has ever been outdoors. In short, it’s a show for *almost* everyone. – Recommended by Tanya

Listen to this podcast here.

Talking Tastebuds by Venetia Falconer 

Season 4 & 5

“In each episode, Venetia interviews an individual who has a love for food and the environment. She discusses topics such as zero waste, fast fashion, eco-anxiety, health and wellness, veganism and more. One of my favourite podcasts.”– Recommended by Joelle

Listen to this podcast here.

Harry Potter and the Sacred Text

“It is a very academic look at Harry Potter as a sacred text, if you are a Ravenclaw like me, you’ll enjoy it.”– Recommended by Courtney

Listen to Harry Potter and the Sacred Text here.

The Field Guides by Steve and Bill

“Recorded outside on Bill and Steve’s field trips. This is a fun and easy listen and you’ll always learn something”– Recommended by Dorthea.

Find the podcast here. 


Real stories where humans and our habitat meet. Recommended by Tanya.

Listen to this podcast here.

Which milk is best for me and the planet?

“If you have ever had tea or coffee at the Conservancy office then you probably know how many different kinds of milk we have in the fridge. That’s because some of prefer oat, some prefer soy, and others cow. Toby recommended this podcast to Courtney and I and it gives a great comparison of the environmental footprint and health benefits of different types of milk. An interesting listen.”– Recommended by Joelle

Listen to this podcast here.

YouTube Channels

Living Big in a Tiny House by Bryce Langston 

Tanya, Dorthea, and I often share our love for off grid tiny houses. We share pictures of what we would want our tiny homes to look like, what off grid features they would have, and more. Many of these ideas and inspirations come from tiny house channels and shows such as this one! Bryce Langston travels around the world visiting different tiny houses and sharing their designs.”- Recommended by Joelle

(Dorthea wants it noted that she lived in a tiny house for 15 years and it was fun, and now she’s ready for a bigger house).

Visit this channel here.

Yoga with Adriene

“Whether its participating in her 30 day yoga challenge or joining in for some good old fashioned exercise, Yoga with Adriene is a great at home yoga practice. Her classes are fun and are a great way to let go of some stress and worries you may have.” – Recommended by Courtney and Joelle

Get your yoga on with Adriene here.

Birds of North America

Jason Ward has a love for bird watching. In this series he teaches you how to identify different bird species by sight and sound, how to use binoculars, and touches on topics such as diversity in the outdoors.

Watch his YouTube Channel here.

Films, Movies, and Documentaries

Epic Films for the Great Indoors by BANFF Mountain Film

“One of the Conservancy staff’s favourite times to gather together is in January when we head to the Orillia Opera House to watch the Banff Mountain Film Festival hosted by Sojourn. First, we fill our bellies with yummy pizza from Rustica Pizza Vino and then make our way to the theater to be inspired and thrilled by the outdoor adventure films. With some of our favourite nature spots temporarily closed, Banff Mountain Film Festival is helping us stay sparked with adventure by sharing a variety of free films that you can watch with friends and family (virtually or from a distance).”– Recommended by Joelle

To check out these films click here.


“A garbage packing robot helps people return to earth after it has been ruined by pollution. More fun than it sounds, it is kid friendly and one of my favourites.” –Recommended by Courtney

A Plastic Ocean

This documentary gives an in depth look at how plastics are impacting our oceans.- Recommended by Joelle

Jurassic Park

“Just try to beat that!”- Recommended by Courtney

Mission Blue

This documentary follows oceanographer Sylvia Earle’s campaign to save the world’s oceans from threats such as overfishing and toxic waste. Recommended by Tanya


Never-before-seen footage shines new light on Jane Goodall’s unlikely beginnings, groundbreaking research and enduring legacy as a primatologist. Recommended by Tanya

Any Documentary with David Attenborough -Recommended by Courntey

Dancing with the Birds

From ruffling their majestic feathers to nailing im-peck-able courtship routines, birds in paradise flaunt their best moves in hopes of landing a mate. Recommended by Tanya

Available on Netflix here.

TV Shows 

Tiny House Nation 

Another good tiny house show!”- Recommended by Joelle

Our Planet

The filmography in this is amazing. In this series you are taken around the world to learn about different ecosystems and how they are being affected by climate change.”- Recommended by Joelle

‘The Good Place’

“I like the moral philosophy and the comedy of this show”– Recommended by Courtney

Available on Netflix here.


Birds and Biodiversity Playlist

Recipes (Vegan Friendly)

Homeade “rolo” Knock Offs

“These were a hit at our staff Christmas party this past year and are super easy to make!”- Recommended by Joelle

Vegan Blueberry Pancakes 

Thai Green Curry Superfood Soup

Other great ideas from some fellow partners in conservation…